Westminster : City Is the First to OK Beach Boulevard Project

The City Council has become the first in the county to approve the Beach Boulevard superstreet project that would revamp the street into a 19-mile thoroughfare.

With no one speaking for or against the resolution, the council unanimously approved the Orange County Transportation Commission's plan, with two minor revisions suggested by the city staff.

The revisions are to install a left-turn pocket at the Trask Avenue intersection and to acquire property to expand the street on the south side of Bolsa Avenue, instead of the north side. The north side of the Bolsa Avenue intersection is in Midway City, an unincorporated county area.

The change was requested because the north side of Bolsa Avenue and Beach Boulevard is a developed corner, according to assistant project manager Rob McCann. The commission will seek approval for the revision from the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

The superstreet was approved by the OCTC Dec. 9 and $4 million allocated for it over the next two years. The estimated $24-million project, which does not require funding from the affected cities, would include adding two lanes, coordinating traffic signals, widening intersections and building additional areas for buses to pull over without blocking traffic.

Beach Boulevard is a densely packed expanse of fast-food outlets, shopping centers and filling stations that stretches in Orange County from La Habra to Huntington Beach and serves as an access way for some of the county's major tourist attractions.

County traffic planners predict that by the year 2005, 14 of the boulevard's 19 miles will be at or over capacity.

The eight other affected cities will vote on the project in the coming weeks. The Buena Park City Council will vote Monday, and on Tuesday the city councils in Anaheim, La Mirada, La Habra and Fullerton will vote on the plan.

The week of Jan. 27, the Garden Grove and Stanton city councils and the Orange County Board of Supervisors will consider the project, with the Huntington Beach City Council voting in early February, project manager Lisa Mills said.

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